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Pacific Journalism Online Website Censored

ADVISORY: Pacific Journalism Online website - the USP Journalism Programme's website - was disconnected late on Monday May 29, after the armed attack on Fiji Television the previous night which cut transmission and trashed the office. PJO and the journalism students had been providing extensive coverage of events in Fiji until then.

The website includes the online editions of our newspaper Wansolwara, Pasifik Nius, Radio Pasifik and regional media resources plus information on our courses and programme etc. The official reason given by the university for the closure is "security reasons". However, the website was closed after the publication of the full transcript of the Fiji Television Close-up programme involving reporter Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Communications Fiji Ltd managing director William Parkinson and political commentator Jone Dakuvula (a onetime NZ Human Rights Commission investigator).

The Talanoa "feedback" section is still open for postings as that is on a separate server in the United States: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

I met with a university management team yesterday in an effort to get the website reopened. I stressed that this was censorship. This was unsuccessful and there were suggestions of preventing publication of our newspaper Wansolwara as well. However, the newspaper had already gone to press yesterday morning. Below is the news item published in Wansolwara on the closure of the website.

Yesterday afternoon we disbanded our newsroom team of student journalists and this plus the next item 2749 FIJI: Rebels want Siwatibau in civilian government will be the last postings on this temporary server list. The Pasifik Nius listserve communication problem has been solved and that list will now resume today. Many of you are already on that.

David Robie, Journalism Coordinator, USP Tel: (679) 212685

Wansol Online Barred

See updates and pictures: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/(temporarily offline)

By Joycelyn Narayan

SUVA: The Pacific Journalism Online website at the University of the South Pacific has been shut down for security reasons in Fiji's hostage crisis.

The PJO website, which includes the award-winning newspaper Wansolwara, had provided extensive coverage throughout the political crisis in Fiji and was a popular source of news on the Internet.

Vice-Chancellor Esekia Solofa said the decision to shut down the website was made for security reasons.

"The recent damage to Fiji Television premises show that because of Pacific Journalism Online, the whole of USP might have been at risk," said Mr Solofa.

"The fact that the website is a training ground for USP journalism students makes it USP's responsibility to be aware of the risks involved in reporting current events," he said.

"If, because of the website, USP as a whole was targeted, then it would mean that the website was a security risk," said Mr Solofa.

+++niuswire


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